Prioritising the Health and Safety of Workers Across All Energy Sectors

With almost 250 fatalities in the oil industry for every one death of a worker in wind power, the renewable energy sector appears to be a much safer environment in which to work. Of course, the production of oil has a long established history and a much larger workforce; the International Labour Organisation estimates that at least 6 million people work directly for the industry. However as the renewable energy sector continues to grow, it may yet present some of the same health and safety risks as fossil fuel industries.

And due to new hazards such as the extreme height of wind turbines, it may even cause an increase in injuries and fatalities from falls. Whether preventing and controlling recognized hazards on traditional oil fields, or learning to deal with risks posed by the fast-growing wind industry, health and safety of on-site workers must be a priority across all energy sectors.

Dealing with Accidents in the Oil Industry

From the plains of Texas to the major oil-producing countries of the Middle East, working in the oil industry is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Although regulations and industry standards are in place to identify, prevent and control exposure to hazards, accidents in the oil industry are common.

Apart from the more obvious hazards such as fires and explosions, accidents involving vehicles are one of the most common causes of fatalities in and around oilfields. Driver fatigue due to lack of adequate rest can be a contributing factor, but, when accidents occur due to negligence, specialist oilfield accident lawyers have the experience to determine liability in a case.

Reporting injuries and following up accidents not only ensures that oil workers rights’ are upheld, but could also help to tighten driving regulations and prevent the recurrence of similar incidents.

Reducing Risks to Wind Turbine Technicians

Although wind energy is a clean source of power and considered much safer than fossil fuels for the environment, as an industry it can still pose a threat to the health and safety of its workers. Erecting and maintaining wind turbines can involve working in remote areas, often in extreme conditions and at considerable heights. Working at height accounts for almost a third of all workplace injuries and is the most common cause of fatalities to construction workers.

To ensure a safe working environment for wind turbine technicians, specialised training and education is becoming increasingly important in this growing field. As more reputable companies receive accreditation for safety certification for the Global Wind Organisation, comprehensive and standardised training can be offered to all workers in the wind turbine industry.

Although working in the field of renewable energy appears to pose less of a risk to workers’ health and safety, it is still vital to keep hazards in these sectors to a minimum. As well as learning lessons on how to deal with worker safety from traditional industries, regularly updating training and education in burgeoning renewable energy sectors will help to ensure safety levels remain high.

About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of EcoMENA, and an international consultant, advisor, ecopreneur and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biomass energy, biogas, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. He has participated in numerous conferences and workshops as chairman, session chair, keynote speaker and panelist. Salman is the Editor-in-Chief of EcoMENA, and is a professional environmental writer with more than 300 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability in different parts of the world. Salman Zafar can be reached at salman@ecomena.org or salman@bioenergyconsult.com
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